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PHILOS 3B03 Continental Philos Post Hegel

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Barry Allen

Email: bgallen@mcmaster.ca

Office: University Hall 301

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23463


Office Hours: Fridays 2:30pm

Course Objectives:

Class location: MDCL 1009

The subject of this course is the philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941). We will read all of his major works, which I will discuss in detail in lectures. The format of the class is lectures, one 3-hour meeting weekly.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Henri Bergson, Time and Free Will, trans. F. L. Pogson (Dover, 2001)

Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer (Dover, 2004)

Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution, trans. Arthur Mitchell (Dover, 1998)

Henri Bergson, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, trans. R. Ashley Audra and Cloudesley Brereton (University of Notre Dame Press, 1977)

Most of the English translations are available at:


Most of the original French are available at:


Method of Assessment:

Assessment will be based on four writing assignments averaged over the semester and a final exam. There is also an important component for attendance, which I expect to be regular.

Every week I will post a selection of questions for a written response.

Each student selects four to respond to, at fifteen percent each. No more than two of these assignments can be on any one of the books that we study. The assignment is due one week after posting.

60% Four writing assignments.

20% Final exam. Take-home essay question, same format as the writing assignments.

20% Attendance

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Please be aware of these points:

• Late assignments subject to penalty of 3% per day (including weekends).

• No electronic submission of papers. Do not submit assignments to the Philosophy Department office. The office staff do not accept them, nor do they return assignments to students.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Week 1


Time and Free Will, chapter 1

Week 2

Time and Free Will, chapter 2

Week 3

Time and Free Will, chapter 3 + conclusion

Week 4

Matter and Memory, chapter 1-2

Week 5

Matter and Memory, chapter 3

Week 6

Matter and Memory, chapter 4 + conclusion

Week 7

Creative Evolution, chapter 1

Week 8

Creative Evolution, chapter 2

Week 9

Creative Evolution, chapter 3

Week 10

Creative Evolution, chapter 4

Week 11

Two Sources of Morality and Religion, chapter 1-2

Week 12

Two Sources of Morality and Religion, chapter 3

Week 13

Two Sources of Morality and Religion, chapter 4

Other Course Information: